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Overhead shot of a bowl of pappardelle pasta with a gold fork to the side and a black bowl of pasta sticking out of the top left of the frame

Creamy Pappardelle with Pancetta, Peas, Spinach, and Shallot Crisps

This creamy pappardelle pasta is made lighter with mascarpone and starchy pasta water instead of cream! It's filled with peas, crispy pancetta, spinach, crispy shallots, and sage. SO much incredible flavor!

Course Main, Pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA


  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, diced (ask the deli to slice it 1/4 inch thick)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flake
  • pinch of dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage, thinly sliced
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup reserved starchy pasta water + another 1/4 c. if needed
  • 3 tablespoons half and half or cream if desired
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more to serve and garnish
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 9 ounces pappardelle pasta
  • salt and pepper


  1. Begin by making the shallot crisps. Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour to a small bowl and add a few pinches of salt and pepper. Dredge 1/3 of the shallot rings in flour (the rest of the shallots are for the pasta). Once oil is hot, fry the shallots in batches for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let drain on paper towels, and set aside. Season with salt while they are hot.

  2. Next, heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove pancetta from skillet and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. To the same pan, add the remaining 2 thinly sliced shallots and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden. Add the red pepper flakes, dried basil, and spinach leaves. Reduce heat to medium/low and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Next add the peas and stir to heat through.  (side note: The water should be boiling for the pasta at this point.) While veggies are cooking, don't forget to reserve your starchy pasta water!*

  4. Add starchy water to the veggies, as well as half and half, mascarpone, and parmesan. Stir to combine and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg and half of the sage, the crispy pancetta, as well as more salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil. Place in a large serving bowl, and pour sauce over pasta, using tongs to combine, as well and any additional parmesan and pasta water if too dry. I added an additional 1/4 c. of water at this point. Garnish with remaining sage, more parmesan, and shallot crisps. Serve!

Recipe Notes

*Make sure the pasta has been boiling for at least 6-8 minutes, to ensure you have enough starch in the water. But the best case is to reserve it right before you drain it!